”The course of true love never did run smooth”—-SHAKESPEAR On Valentine’s day everyone thinks of Love and Romance. Whether young or old, the day invokes memories.
If you are a Romance Writer, you are always interested in learning more about how to move your readers from a first kiss, to a breakup and finding a new love. As an author, you try to find a new approach to an old story. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy gets girl back and they live happily ever after—End of story. Or is it?
Most books, regardless of genre have an attraction somewhere on the pages, even if it is a sub-plot. As a writer, it is your job to make your readers care about your characters, their lives, and their relationships with others. Only in fairy tales do the characters live happily ever after.
Boy meets girl. She is beautiful, smart, and well endowed. He is handsome, brilliant, and successful. Perfect!—Right? NO! Everyone has faults, problems, and dreams. So must your main characters. Give her some quirky habits. Allow him to have secrets.
There are subtle techniques to keep your readers interested. Special words help your readers turn the page (She heard his footsteps advance toward her and her heart jumped with excitement) Or, whisper into your reader’s ears to trigger a memory.(He heard a familiar voice and a pit formed in his stomach).
But, let’s talk about writing an actual romance. We can convey love without saying a word. That is where the “show, don’t’ tell” comes in. A touch, a look, the memory of a shared experience, can say a lot. There is no need to say the magical three words. Writing about Love is difficult. You have to work harder to convey it without saying it.
Another question: How to create suspense through flirtations? To be a good writer, one must learn to be both a seducer and a lover. Begin with flirtations, luring the reader into your world. Is she a teaser, promising much but giving little? Is he not what he seems? Learn to master the art of dangling a carrot before your reader. Plant the idea and your reader will crave the answer. There should be tension, and anxiety between both characters. Without it, your reader will not experience any pleasure at the end of your story.
This is a condensed version of a wonderful issue of Writer’s Digest, for February, 2018. If you do not already have a subscription, you are missing a great magazine.
Happy Writing, Paula